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Obama announces initiative for private infrastructure investment

WILMINGTON, Del. — While criticizing Congress for not passing a long-term transportation spending plan, President Barack Obama stood before the closed I-495 bridge Thursday and announced a new initiative to encourage private-sector investment in infrastructure.

Florida judge overturns state’s ban on gay marriage

FLORIDA — Monroe County Circuit Judge Luis Garcia overturned Florida’s 2008 constitutional gay-marriage ban on Thursday, and ordered that two Key West bartenders be allowed to wed but not before Tuesday.

Senators call on GM CEO to fire top lawyer

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Lawmakers demanded General Motors fire its chief lawyer and do more to help crash victims as a Senate subcommittee delved deeper into GM’s mishandling of the recall of small cars with defective ignition switches.

Court rejects death penalty in California

SAN FRANCISCO — In an indictment of California’s death penalty, a federal judge ruled Wednesday that decades-long delays and uncertainty about whether condemned inmates will ever be executed violate the constitution’s ban on cruel or unusual punishment.

Republicans block birth control bill

WASHINGTON — Senate Republicans on Wednesday blocked a bill sponsored by Washington Senator Patty Murray (D) aimed at restoring free contraception for women who get their health insurance from companies with religious objections, a legislative setback for Democrats that they hope will be a political winner in November’s elections.

First Boston bombing trial wraps up

BOSTON — A friend of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was a naive college kid who was prosecuted because he was a “friend of the bomber,” a defense lawyer said today, while prosecutors told a jury the man was an active participant in a plan to protect Tsarnaev by removing altered fireworks and other items from his dorm room.

New brain protein tied to Alzheimer’s disease

Scientists have linked a new protein to Alzheimer’s disease, different from the amyloid and tau that make up the sticky brain plaques and tangles long known to be its hallmarks.

Dems’ bill counters Hobby Lobby decision

WASHINGTON — Democrats see a political winner in the stinging defeat they suffered when the Supreme Court ruled that businesses with religious objections may deny coverage for contraceptives under President Barack Obama’s health care law.

Arizona sheriff stirs border protests

ORACLE, Ariz. — Protesters waved “Return to Sender” signs, shoved a group of mariachi musicians and waited for a bus of immigrant children that the local sheriff told them would arrive Tuesday. At one point, they briefly halted a bus before realizing it was carrying children from a YMCA.

Affordable Care Act may help mentally ill find work

NEW YORK — By his own admission, for many years Cyrus Napolitano’s bipolar disorder did not make him an ideal employee. Perhaps the worst moment came when he walked into the Brooklyn McDonald’s he was managing to discover some now-forgotten worker infractions.

Bipartisan bill looks to combat immigration crisis

WASHINGTON — In an unlikely partnership, two Texas lawmakers — one Democrat, one Republican — are proposing a bipartisan bill that would empower the U.S. to speed up immigration hearings in hopes of stemming the crisis of unaccompanied children at the border.

California considers fines for wasting water

SACRAMENTO — In response to California’s drought, state regulators today will consider fines up to $500 a day for people who waste water on landscaping, fountains, washing vehicles and other outdoor uses.

Citigroup to pay $7B in mortgages probe

WASHINGTON — Citigroup has agreed to pay $7 billion to settle a federal investigation into its handling of risky subprime mortgages, admitting to a pattern of deception that Attorney General Eric Holder said “shattered lives” and contributed to the worst financial crisis in decades, the Justice Department said Monday.

Texas shooting suspect collapses

HOUSTON — A man accused of killing six members of his ex-wife’s family, including four children, after forcing his way into their suburban Houston home collapsed in court twice today as a prosecutor read out details of the crime.
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Obama official: Immigrant kids draining funds

WASHINGTON — The Homeland Security agency responsible for removing immigrants who are in the country illegally will run out of money by mid-August unless Congress approves President Barack Obama’s emergency request for $3.7 billion to help deal with a flood of child immigrants crossing the border illegally without their parents, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson says.

Chinese hackers target security clearance files

WASHINGTON — Chinese hackers broke into the computer networks of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management earlier this year with the intention of accessing the files of tens of thousands of federal employees who had applied for top-secret security clearances, according to The New York Times.

Obama aims to shift border debate

AUSTIN, Texas — Faced with a potentially awkward scene at the Texas-Mexico border, President Barack Obama sought to recast the political debate over a flood of young migrants as a question of Republican willingness to tackle the problem, not his decision to skip a chance to view the crisis first-hand.

Government made $100B in improper payments

WASHINGTON — By its own estimate, the government made about $100 billion in payments last year to people who may not have been entitled to receive them — tax credits to families that didn’t qualify, unemployment benefits to people who had jobs and medical payments for treatments that might not have been necessary.